Stags Advance to NCAA Semifinals With 5-2 Win Over Middlebury

Skyler Butts (Photo Ellen Friedlander)
Skyler Butts (Photo Ellen Friedlander)

Alex Lane's ace closed out the Stags 5-2 win over Middlebury on Monday, May 20 in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.

(Watch Alex Lane get the deciding point for CMS in the video clip above)

#1 CMS Stags Tennis earned a 5-2 victory against #11 Middlebury in the NCAA Team Championships Quarterfinals on Monday in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Freshman Skyler Butts (Santa Ana, CA) won at #2 doubles and #4 singles, as the Stags rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the last four matches and advance to the semifinals.

CMS lost two of three doubles for only the third time this season against a Division III opponent despite having the early advantage. Butts and partner Neel Kotrappa (Jr. Capt - La Verne, CA) survived multiple break points in the first and fifth games of their match, and yet held on for a convincing 8-1 victory at #2 to put the Stags up 1-0. Middlebury evened the match at 1-1 with an 8-4 win at #1 doubles, leaving Nikolas Marino (So. - San Diego, CA) and Alex Lane (Sr. - Claremont, CA) in a position to give CMS the lead heading into singles. With a match point at 4-7, Ad-out, this would be the Stags' one and only opportunity to finish. A Middlebury hold followed a break of Lane's serve to get back on serve at 6-7. The momentum swung Middlebury's way after a hold and break of Marino's serve had Midd serving for the match at 8-7. A double fault on break point sent the match to a tie-break, where Midd held a 5-2 lead and then a match point at 6-5, before finally winning 8-6.

Unfazed by the 2-1 deficit, CMS wasted no time in establishing control of the singles by winning first sets at all six positions. Butts won easily at #4 to even the score at 2-all, followed by senior Alex Johnson (Thousand Oaks, CA) at #5, giving the Stags a 3-2 lead. Marino and Lane then completed the victory for CMS with straight set wins at #2 and #3 respectively.

CMS is now 29-3 and will face #3 Amherst in the semifinals at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium at 1:30 PM EST on Tuesday.

#1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5) vs. #11 Middlebury (2)
May 20, 2013 at Kalamazoo, MI (Stowe Stadium) - NCAA Team Championships Quarterfinals

1. Alex Johnston / Andrew Lebovitz (Middlebury) def. Joe Dorn / Zhenya Pereverzin (CMS) 8-4
2. Neel Kotrappa / Skyler Butts (CMS) def. Brantner Jones / Teddy Fitzgibbons (Middlebury) 8-1
3. Palmer Campbell / Spencer Lunghino (Middlebury) def. Nikolas Marino / Alex Lane (CMS) 9-8(6)

1. Joe Dorn (CMS) vs. Alex Johnston (Middlebury) 7-6(4), 4-3, DNF
2. Nikolas Marino (CMS) def. Brantner Jones (Middlebury) 6-2, 6-4
3. Alex Lane (CMS) def. Palmer Campbell (Middlebury) 6-4, 6-3
4. Skyler Butts (CMS) def. Spencer Lunghino (Middlebury) 6-1, 6-3
5. Alex Johnson (CMS) def. Jackson Frons (Middlebury) 6-3, 6-4
6. Neel Kotrappa (CMS) vs. Courtney Mountfield (Middlebury) 7-6(6), 2-1, DNF

Order of completion
Doubles: 2, 1, 3
Singles: 4, 5, 2, 3